Ex-Pres. Jerry John Rawlings Dies At 73

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Former President of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings

The first President of the Ghanaian 4th Republic, Jerry John Rawlings, has died. Rawlings was admitted in the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra for about a week before his death for an unannounced illness. Some individuals, including media outlets, are speculating that the former Ghanaian President died from COVID-19.

   According to information, Rawlings was last seen in the public when he buried his mother on October 24, 2020. A few days later, he became sick and was admitted in the hospital where he has been pronounced dead. 

   The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a statement yesterday, expressed great sadness to announce to his country the death of former President Rawlings, noting that the tragic event occurred at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 12, 2020. “I convey the deep sympathies of Government and the people of Ghana to his wife, the former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the children, and family of the late President, in these difficult times.”

   President Addo said he has directed that all the national flags should fly at half-mast for the next seven days in all parts of the country, and declared seven days of national mourning from Friday, November 13, 2020 to Friday, November 20, 2020. “In honor of the memory of former President Rawlings, the Vice President and I have suspended our political campaigns for same period,” he said.

   “A great tree has fallen, and Ghana is poorer for this loss. May his soul rest in perfect peace in the bosom of the Almighty until the Last Day of the Resurrection when we shall meet again. Amen!” President Addo’s statement noted.

   In the same vein, President George M. Weah has conveyed profound sympathy to the government and people of Ghana, the Rawlings family and the entire Africa for the death of a great statesman, President Jerry John Rawlings. “Ghana, Liberia and Africa will miss a great leader. Liberia remembers his immense contribution to the attainment and sustainment of peace during our dark days of our own history,” President Weah eulogized.

   Jerry John Rawlings, born June 22, 1947, initially came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d’etat in 1979. Prior to that, he led an unsuccessful coup attempt against the ruling military government on May 15, 1979, just five weeks before scheduled democratic elections were due to take place. After initially handing power over to a civilian government, he took back control of the country on December 31, 1981 as the Chairman of the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC). In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and became the first President of the Fourth Republic. He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.

   After two terms in office, the limit according to the Ghanaian Constitution, Rawlings endorsed his Vice President, John Atta Mills, as presidential candidate in 2000. Rawlings served as the African Union envoy to Somalia.

   In October 2013, Rawlings was awarded the Global Champion for People’s Freedom by the Mkiva Humanitarian Foundation.

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